The Hypocrisy of "Universal Jurisdiction"
Last week, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak—the former Dovish Prime Minister who offered the Palestinians a state on all of the Gaza Strip, 95% of the West Bank and a capital in East Jerusalem—was arrested when he set foot in Great Britain. (He was quickly released on grounds of diplomatic immunity because he was an official visitor.) And now Moshe Yaalon, an Israeli government minister and former Army Chief of Staff, was forced to cancel a trip he was scheduled to make in London on behalf of a charity, for fear that he too would be arrested.
The charges against these two distinguished public officials are that they committed war crimes against Palestinian terrorists and civilians. Yaalon was accused in connection with the 2002 targeted killing of Salah Shehadeh, a notorious terrorist who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israeli civilians and was planning the murders of hundreds of more. As a result of faulty intelligence the rocket that killed Shehadeh also killed several civilians who were nearby, including members of his own family. Barak is being accused of war crimes in connection with Israel’s recent military effort to stop rockets from being fired at its civilians from the Gaza Strip.
The British government and British prosecutors have not supported the arrest of Barak and Yaalon. Those demanding the arrest of these Israelis are hard-left political activists who are seeking to invoke so-called “universal jurisdiction” against those who they consider guilty of war crimes and genocide. They have absolutely zero interest in human rights, in the laws of war, or in preventing genocide. Indeed, many of them supported the Cambodian genocide and have refused to condemn the Rwanda and Darfur genocides. They would never dream of demanding the arrest of Hamas murderers who target Israeli schoolchildren for suicide bombings or rocket attacks. They are willfully misusing these concepts—human rights, universal jurisdiction—to serve their anti-Israel and anti-Western ideology. What they are doing undercuts the neutrality and value of these protections.
If they were at all interested in human rights they would be going after the worst first—those who murder innocent civilians as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing or genocide. But they are interested in Israel and Israel alone. That’s why they demand boycotts and divestment only from the Jewish state and not from real human rights violators. Indeed, most of them would fervently reject to sanctions against Iran, North Korea, Libya, Venezuela, China, Zimbabwe, Syria or Saudi Arabia.
It is disgraceful that Israeli leaders cannot walk the streets of London safely, while Hamas and Hezbollah leaders are honored and celebrated. The time has come for Israel to confront this issue directly and to take legal action to prevent radical Israel-haters from misusing decent laws to achieve indecent results. Just imagine what a trial would look like, if it were conducted fairly and objectively. The Israelis would be able to prove that their campaign of targeted assassinations of terrorists has worked effectively to reduce terrorism against Israeli citizens and others. Israel has inadvertently killed some civilians, but the ratio of deaths has been reduced to 1 civilian for every 28 terrorists. This is the best ratio of any country in the world that is fighting asymmetrical warfare against terrorists who hide behind civilians. It is far better than the ratio achieved by Great Britain and the United States in Iraq or Afghanistan, where both nations employ targeted killings of terrorist leaders. Recall that it was Great Britain that implemented a policy during the Second World War of targeting civilians in cities such as Dresden and that it was the United States that implemented the same policy in its firebombing of Tokyo. Indeed, it is fair to say that no country in modern history has ever been more protective of enemy civilians than Israel has been during its 75 year fight against terrorism.
As Richard Kemp put it during the Gaza War:
“[f]rom my knowledge of the IDF and from the extent to which I have been following the current operation, I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza.
Hamas, the enemy they have been fighting, has been trained extensively by Iran and by Hezbollah, to fight among the people, to use the civilian population in Gaza as a human shield Hamas factor in the uses of the population as a major part of their defensive plan. So even though as I say, Israel, the IDF, has taken enormous steps to reduce civilian casualties, it is impossible, it is impossible to stop that happening when the enemy has been using civilians as human shields.”
Recall that before Israel went into the Gaza Strip, nearly 10,000 rockets had been fired at its civilians from behind human shields. No nation is obliged, under international law, to accept the risks of catastrophic outcomes from these anti-personnel rockets.
So let there be a legal proceeding—a fair one in an objective forum—in which Israel’s policies are tested against those of other countries. The end result would be that Ehud Barak and Moshe Yaalon will be able to hold their heads up high and walk through the streets of any western city in the full knowledge that what they have done meets and indeed exceeds every standard of international law applicable to their conduct.
Comment on this item
by Louis René Beres
The Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."
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by Soeren Kern
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The proposed revisions would, among other changes, regulate the training and hiring of Muslim clerics, prohibit the foreign funding of mosques, and establish an official German-language version of the Koran to prevent its "misinterpretation" by Islamic extremists.
Muslims would be prohibited from citing Islamic sharia law as legal justification for ignoring or disobeying Austrian civil laws.
Leaders of Austria's Muslim community counter that the contemplated new law amounts to "institutionalized Islamophobia."
Official statistics show that nearly 60% of the inhabitants of Vienna are immigrants or foreigners. The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible.
by Samuel Westrop
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